I posted about my first horse as an adult here: Rest in Peace and Run free my red man shortly after he passed away, but I’m going to post the story of how Joker, my first horse owned as an adult, entered my life.
I have been pretty fortunate to always have horses to ride. I’ve known a lot of really generous people and have been able to ride several horses in Kansas for little to no cost. There have been 3 barns I’ve ridden with and I met Joker in 2010 at the second barn I rode with.
I only remember seeing him a couple times. His owner at the time, like me, was riding some of the sale horses at the barn. In October of 2010, she posted something on Facebook saying that she was looking to re-home her two horses. One, a paint gelding that was later purchased by my friend and the other one, a red TB gelding who at the time was named Nashville. She didn’t have his papers and wasn’t 100% sure how old he was. She let me take him for a month long trial and I fell in love.
Now to clarify, Joker was not perfect. I was told when I tried him that he had a rearing problem. The kind of rearing problem where he reared and his owner got off. It took about a month and half for the rearing problem to appear for me. It never was all out rearing though. He was built extremely uphill and would hop up when he didn’t want to do something. He also would pull the same crap while lunging and it took some help from a friend to actually get him to lunge decently. He also pulled the same crap while jumping. He’d hop up and down on the way to the jump. He was a challenge to say the least. He wasn’t the most personable, but I could hop on him and do anything. Trail riding? Definitely. Jumping bareback? so much fun. XC schooling: he loved it.
We didn’t do a lot of showing. We did one local H/J show, a CT at a recognized event (just BN), one more local H/J show and finally a full event at BN.
Joker steadily improved while I owned him. After about a year and a half, he decided he’d quit his rearing crap all together and never did it again.
When I made the very difficult decision to sell him, I knew that selling him to a jumping home would be hard. A local trainer took him on trial and from what I remember about the ordeal, he ended up pretty overwhelmed. Gymnastics were a bit over his head. I continued riding him and taking lessons at a local barn. Out of the blue, my friend called me and asked if a friend of hers could come see Joker. It had been raining, it was muddy and I hadn’t touched him in 4 days. He was a champ.
The rider who had come to see him was an older adult looking for a horse to last her the rest of her riding lifetime. She came back a second time with another trainer and decided she wanted to go ahead and do a vet check. In the mean time, I got my DNA Results back from the Jockey Club and discovered that Joker was a 2003 Thoroughbred Gelding named No Carbs.
The Vet check was coincidentally scheduled on my birthday and I was a blubbering mess. He passed with satisfactory results, so he was off to his new home.
I stayed in touch with his new owner, who is one of the nicest people I’ve ever known. I visited him two or three times while she had him and even got to ride him once. He was a special boy and he came a long way.
Unfortunately Joker had some chronic lameness issues. After many diagnostics and several months of being uncomfortable, it was discovered that he had degenerative arthritis in his neck and his shoulder. He was not going to get better. Joker crossed the rainbow bridge on February 27th of 2015. I could not have asked for him to have a better owner. I still miss him and think of him often.
Joker being his awkward self
Joker and I, Christmas 2010
Sometime early 2011
Summer 2011…who needs their eyes open? Not Joker.
Pretty trot, Joker
BN Combined Test, August 2011
One final ride
The day Joker left for his new home: September 26, 2012
Joker the Dressage Horse
Rest in Peace, Big Guy